Fine Arts Academy winter showcase presents “Bare”

In the Fine Arts Academy (FAACL), there are three showcases per year that give Academy  members the opportunity to highlight their creativity through an artistic interpretation of a chosen theme. The Jan. 15 showcase’s theme was “bare”, and junior Jessica Lawson, a member of the drama strand of the Fine Arts Academy, took an approach to her performance that had never been seen before in the history of the Fine Arts Academy. 

“The idea that people had about bare, [like] baring yourself to the audience [and] being true to yourself, makes me very uncomfortable. I decided to make a showcase about the uncomfortable and making the audience feel the way I felt about the theme,” Lawson said. “I wrote a monologue [using] a type of comedy called cringe comedy. It’s where things go so wrong that it makes people highly uncomfortable and laugh a bit because they’re so uncomfortable.”

Taking inspiration from comedians like Eric Andre, Lawson made a fake showcase in which she and freshman Ellie Peeks pretended they were performing a serious, vulnerable interpretation of the theme that went horribly wrong. 

“It makes it seem like I actually care about the theme [and] doing it properly. Then, I ruin the entire thing,” Lawson said. “We forget our lines [and] technical errors happen a lot. The whole thing [gets] ruined.”

At the end of the showcase, Lawson gave the audience insight into her project to explain that everything that went wrong with the showcase was planned. There were only a few people who knew the reality of Lawson’s showcase all along, so it came as a total surprise to the audience. 

The only people that know the showcase [was going to happen] the way it [happened were] my drama [and] strand teacher, Mr. Gibson, and the people in the creative writing strand,” Lawson said. “Only four [or] five people [total knew that it was] going to happen.”   

Lawson has been working on her showcase since early November. Showcases are a major part of the Fine Arts Academy, so FAACL Director J.R. Snow gives students a lot of time to prepare. 

“A showcase preparation begins eight to nine weeks prior to the presentation with students proposing their ideas, revising those ideas formally and informally three to five times, developing their artist statements that help the audience understand their art, and then finally preparing and running the showcase in a dress rehearsal format before the performance to the public,” Snow said.   

Lawson’s unique interpretation of the theme is exactly the type of creativity that the Fine Arts Academy showcases are intended to foster. 

“Each showcase is unique as it highlights different creative voices of each student,” Snow said. 

This showcase’s theme of “bare” allowed Lawson to take an approach to drama that she never has in a showcase before.  

“I think that it’s fun and I haven’t been doing a lot of fun or comedic showcases. I usually do more tragic ones,” Lawson said. “I try to do comedy and it never ends up happening because of the theme. I feel like I finally got to do something I really wanted to do.”